Life cycle





EU, Cairo University


Violence Against Women (VAW) Free Campuses is a gender programme to address (VAW) and support Anti-Harassment and VAW Unit, Cairo University  to provide a safe university environment to the university community.


Violence against women and girls takes several forms and persist in all societies. It’s a cause and consequence of gender inequality. To respond to this, Cairo University in Egypt established an Anti-VAW Unit to address VAW-related issues and the underlying objective of ensuring that Cairo University provides a safe campus for all. Few years after the establishment of the unit, the British Council came in to support the unit in expanding its capacity to better accommodate its objectives and building awareness of the unit, its functions, and the overall topic of VAW.


Firstly, there was a need to increase to the capacity and capability of the members of the unit, including co-ordination at the faculty level to serve the university community. This was achieved by organising study visits to and from the UK, attending conferences and hosting workshops. Secondly, the team identified areas for the development of the case management system for reporting incidents of VAW. In our second objective we built the confidence of students and staff to both prevent and report VAW. Young staff members participated in workshops that focused on gender equality and bystander techniques, then they cascaded this to students. This has increased their skills and their understanding of the issues. Next, we disseminated information within the university community on the topic of VAW and the unit’s services. 


The project successfully reached 11,075 beneficiaries during four years, of which 10,843 were reached through engaging events and activities, and 318 through capacity building and trainings (110 males and 208 females).

The focus of our communication strategy was on digital, with the involvement of press and media. Social media platforms enabled the programme to reach more people with the messages of the programme. Through our social media and digital campaigns, we reached 1.4 million, with 58 thousand digital engagement (57% males and 53% females). We utilised on press and media to amplify the impact of the programme and increase the public awareness of the issues of violence against women. The programme disseminated 16 press releases which were published 224 times via 76 press outlets.

The lesson learned from the project was the importance of contextualising the approach to achieve the expected outcome and to increase the ownership among the national partner which eventually leads to sustainability. 

Mutual benefit

Exchanging the experience between Egypt and the UK through the inward and outward study visits proved that there is a lot to learn from each other despite the different context. This has been translated into useful manuals and virtual workshops which included students and staff members not only from Cairo University but beyond, as the programme expanded to other universities to inspire them to learn from this experience.